Steven LoBue surged to victory here in Bilbao, in one of the most thrilling World Series finals yet. With champion Gary Hunt failing to make the top 8, it was anyone's win for the taking, and it was American LoBue who snatched the chance with some sensational diving. Joining him on the podium were Orlando Duque in 2nd place, and Blake Aldridge in 3rd.
On a day when Gary Hunt collected his 5th World Series title in seven years, it was the 30-year-old American, Steven LoBue, who tasted victory in the final event of the year. It was his first win in what has been a difficult year for him: "I came into this season injured and it's just been a really rough year. I've kind of racked more injuries through the year, then hit my face on the platform which was a small setback. But I was mentally strong enough to get over that incident and I'm just so, so happy that I was able to put those dives together today. I'm just lost for words really. As for next season, I didn't finish in the top 6, so we'll see what happens. If there's a competition I'll fight for my spot, or if I get selected then awesome."
With only 10.80pts. between the leader and 7th position after the first three dives, it was one of the tightest finishes ever, and Blake Aldridge was delighted to make it onto the podium: "I was really gutted to miss my 2nd dive. It's a simple dive for me, and probably one of my strongest ones. But, you know, I came back with two amazing optionals. The first, the hardest dive in the world, and then my back twist at the end was just unbelievable. It's been an amazing year, an amazing series, and my best one to date."
Looking at the overall results, Gary Hunt (1320pts.) was awarded with the overall winner's trophy for the 5th time in seven years, with six victories in eight competitions in 2015 and 25 wins in 50 stops. Despite not making the final 8 in Bilbao, he was in jubilant mood: "It's an amazing feeling to be champion. I can't be disappointed about today, because this has been the best year of my career and my life. I'm very happy and now I'm just looking forward to next year." Completing the 2015 World Series podium were cliff diving legend Orlando Duque (970pts.) and the World Series youngster Jonathan Paredes from Mexico (849pts.). The 6 automatic qualification places were completed by fellow Englishman Blake Aldridge and the American duo David Colturi and Andy Jones.
After eight demanding competitions between April and September, in which this pure extreme sport touched waters in natural and urban surroundings as well as remote and iconic venues across South America, the US and Europe, the World Series will be back in style in 2016.
RESULTS STOP 8
1. Steven LoBue | USA | 481.50pts.
2. Orlando Duque | COL | 469.90
3. Blake Aldridge | UK | 467.80
4. Michal Navratil | CZE | 445.85
5. David Colturi | USA | 438.00
6. Jonathan Paredes | MEX | 436.65
7. Andy Jones | USA | 434.35
8. Sergio Guzman (wildcard) | MEX | 397.80
9. Kris Kolanus (wildcard) | POL | 315.50
10. Gary Hunt | UK | 313.70
11. Kyle Mitrione (wildcard) | USA | 295.50
12. Jucelino Junior | BRA | 277.00
13. Miguel Garcia (wildcard) | COL | 276.35
14. Alessandro De Rose (wildcard) | ITA | 261.10
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS 2015
1. Gary Hunt | UK | 1320pts.
2. Orlando Duque | COL | 970
3. Jonathan Paredes | MEX | 849
4. Blake Aldridge | UK | 820
5. David Colturi | USA | 690
6. Andy Jones | USA | 590